Spain Records 367 Fresh COVID-19 Deaths, Lowest Daily Toll In A Month

File: Healthcare workers prepare to move a COVID-19 coronavirus patient at the Intensive Unit Care of the Povisa Hospital in Vigo, northwestern Spain, on April 16, 2020. MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP


Spain recorded 367 people deaths from novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours, the lowest daily number of fatalities in four weeks, the government said on Friday.

It is the smallest number of new coronavirus deaths since March 22 when 394 deaths were recorded.

The number brought the country’s total deaths to 22,524, the third-highest number in the world after the United States and Italy.

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More people were diagnosed as recovered than as infected over 24 hours for the first time since the start of the pandemic, the health ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon told a news conference.

There were 2,796 new infections confirmed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, or swab tests, over the past 24 hours, while 3,105 people overcame the infection, he said.

“We can say there is some good news,” Simon added.

But the total number of new cases was up by 6,740 in the last 24 hours when those detected by antibody tests were included, bringing the overall number of infections to 219,764 from 213,024 the day before.

Spain has been ramping up the use of antibody tests which show whether a patient’s immune system has developed defences against the coronavirus, meaning they have been infected in the past.

Spanish health officials believe the epidemic peaked on April 2 when 950 people died over 24 hours, nearly three weeks after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown that effectively confined almost 47 million citizens to home to slow the spread of the virus.

Parliament on Wednesday authorised the government to extend the state of emergency for two more weeks until May 9.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez signalled that the government could begin to ease its restrictions — some of the tightest in Europe — during the second half of May, but warned that “de-escalation will be slow”.

He has said the government may phase out restrictions by sectors and geographical areas, letting less-affected areas return to normal life first.

A first step to ease confinement will be taken at the weekend, when children will be allowed out for walks accompanied by an adult.

COVID-19: Manchester City Coach Pep Guardiola Loses Mother To Pandemic

FILES) In this file photo taken on April 17, 2019 Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England. Anthony Devlin / AFP


Pep Guardiola’s 82-year-old mother has died after contracting coronavirus, Manchester City announced on Monday.

“The Manchester City family are devastated to report the death today of Pep’s mother Dolors Sala Carrio in Manresa, Barcelona, after contracting coronavirus,” the Premier League club said in a statement.

“Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends.”

Guardiola, 49, last month donated one million euros ($1 million) to buy medical supplies for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in his native Spain.

He also issued a video as part of the club’s Cityzens At Home initiative urging fans to stay at home.

Spain declared Monday a fourth consecutive drop in the number of coronavirus-related deaths, with 637 over the past 24 hours, the lowest number in nearly two weeks.

Fatalities, which were sharply down on the record 950 on Thursday, brought the total deaths in the country to 13,055, second only to Italy.


Global Virus Cases Top A Million As Deaths Surpass 50,000

This picture taken on March 21, 2020 shows coffins on the ground of the church in Serina, near Bergamo, northern Italy. Italy on March 21 reported 793 new coronavirus deaths, a one-day record that saw the country's toll shoot up to 4,825, the 38.3 percent of the world's totality. Piero Cruciatti / AFP
This picture taken on March 21, 2020 shows coffins on the ground of the church in Serina, near Bergamo, northern Italy. Italy on March 21 reported 793 new coronavirus deaths, a one-day record that saw the country’s toll shoot up to 4,825, the 38.3 percent of the world’s totality. Piero Cruciatti / AFP


The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world has soared past one million and fatalities have topped 50,000 as the United States reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far.

Despite more than half the planet living in some form of lockdown, the virus is continuing to spread rapidly, and to claim lives at an alarming pace, with the US, Spain and Britain all seeing their worst days yet.

The economic cost of the pandemic is getting starker by the day, with new figures showing that an extra 6.65 million Americans signed on for unemployment benefit last week, taking to 10 million the number of people in the US who lost their jobs in the last two weeks of March.

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And economists warned it was going to get worse.

“No words for this,” said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“Total layoffs between the March and April payroll surveys look destined to reach perhaps 16 to 20 million, consistent with the unemployment rate leaping to 13 to 16 percent. In one month.”

Financial ratings agency Fitch on Thursday predicted that the US and eurozone economies would shrink this quarter by up to 30 percent as struggling businesses slash investment and unemployment dampens consumer spending.

The Asian Development Bank warned Friday the global economy could take a $4.1 trillion hit from the virus — equivalent to five percent of worldwide output.

World leaders have announced huge financial aid packages to deal with the crisis and the World Bank on Thursday approved a plan to roll out $160 billion in emergency cash over 15 months.

– Rocketing –
The United States now accounts for around a quarter of all known infections around the globe, and its death toll is rocketing up.

About 6,000 people have died in the US outbreak, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,100 of them in the last day.

White House experts say between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could ultimately die from the disease.

Disaster response agency FEMA on Thursday asked the US military for 100,000 body bags.

Around 85 percent of Americans are under some form of stay-at-home order.

In New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to cover their faces when outside and Vice President Mike Pence said there would be a recommendation on the use of masks by the general public in the next few days.

– Slowdown in Spain –
Europe has been at the center of the crisis for weeks, but there have been signs that the epidemic could be approaching its peak there.

Spain and Britain saw record numbers of new deaths in a 24-hour period — 950 and 569 respectively.

Italy and Spain together account for almost half of the global death toll, but experts say the number of new infections in both countries is continuing to slow.

“The data show the curve has stabilized” and the epidemic has entered a “slowdown” phase, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

The virus has chiefly affected the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, but recent cases of deaths among teenagers and even of a six-week-old baby have highlighted the dangers for people of all ages.

“The very notion that ‘COVID-19 only affects older people’ is factually wrong,” said Hans Kluge of the World Health Organization on Thursday.

Severe cases have been reported among teens and young adults, with some requiring intensive care and several deaths, he said.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to “massively increase testing” as his health minister said the aim was 100,000 tests a day within weeks.

Johnson, who has himself tested positive for COVID-19, has been criticised for his government’s failure to provide widespread screening, particularly for frontline health workers.

Britain was also rushing to build field hospitals, with the government saying Friday it would erect two new facilities to cope with 1,500 extra patients.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin extended paid non-working days until the end of April as the number of confirmed cases jumped by more than a quarter to 3,500.

Most of the Russian population is on lockdown, while Thailand became the latest country to impose strict measures with the introduction of a curfew from Friday.

The virus is beginning to get a grip on the developing world, where experts have warned of disasters among communities already ravaged by poverty.

In northeast Nigeria, aid workers say it could rampage through sprawling camps for 1.8 million people displaced by a decade-long Boko Haram insurgency.

“There is no health system to contain that virus… it will spread like wildfire and affect all involved,” said one United Nations worker on condition of anonymity.”

It is really scary.”


Ex-Olympique Marseille President Pape Diouf Dies Of Coronavirus

File: This file photo taken on February 04, 2014 in Marseille shows former president of Marseille football club “l’Olympique de Marseille” Pape Diouf. Pape Diouf, 68-year-old died after contracting the COVID-19 disease, his familly announced on March 31, 2020. Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP


Former Marseille, President Pape Diouf, has died aged 68 after contracting the new coronavirus, a family source told AFP on Tuesday.

Diouf, who was born in Chad but had French and Senegalese citizenship, led the club between 2005-2009 and helped build the side who lifted the Ligue 1 title in 2010.

He was hospitalised in Senegal after contracting the virus there and became the country’s first COVID-19 fatality.

Diouf had been due to leave for Nice earlier on Tuesday to be treated in France, but a sharp deterioration in his health — which saw him placed on a respirator — prevented him from boarding the plane.

Diouf was also a journalist and football agent before taking over at the Stade Velodrome.

Moving to Marseille aged 18, he was set on a career in the military, but soon switched paths.

After studying at the prestigious Sciences Po in Paris, he worked at the La Marseillaise newspaper before becoming a football agent, most notably for Didier Drogba, who enthralled the Velodrome in 2003-04.

He later became president at Marseille, “a difficult post, where there were very few men from diverse backgrounds,” said Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the club’s current president.

“But he fought tooth and nail, and won the hearts of thousands of supporters.”

Diouf himself was acutely aware of the lack of diversity at the management level, telling an interviewer in 2008 that the fact he was the only black president of a top-tier European club was “a painful observation.”

“Pape will remain in the hearts of the Marseillais forever, as one of the great architects in the club’s history,” Marseilles said in a statement.

Senegal President Macky Sall also paid tribute to “a great figure of sport” on Twitter.

“To his family, I offer, on behalf of the nation, my deepest condolences.”


Plateau Governor Orders Workers To Work From Home, Shuts Down Markets

A file photos of Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong.


Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has directed workers from grade level one to 12 in the state to start working from home and that markets should be shut down.

The order takes effect from Wednesday, March 25.

The decision was made after an emergency meeting of the state executive council as part of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

The Governor said, “With effect from Wednesday 25th March 2020, all public servants in Plateau State from Grade levels 12 and below are to work from home for the next 30 days.

“Only workers offering essential services such as security, health, media, street cleaners, and water supply and energy are exempted from this directive.

“In view of the crowds associated with markets, government is directing all markets to close effective 25th March 2020. Only traders selling food items, pharmaceuticals and cooking gas are to remain open.

“In addition, all street trading, street hawking, and begging are prohibited. The weekly Sunday markets at Ahmadu Bello Way, Bukuru and environs are hereby banned,” the governor said.

Also, social joints, nightclubs, drinking parlours are to also close effective Wednesday 25th March 2020, while restaurants were advised to prepare takeaway food for their customers to avoid crowding.

Motor parks are to capture and keep data including contacts of all inbound and outbound passengers as well as adhere strictly to social distancing and mass gathering prohibition order as well as hygiene regulations.

Governor Lalong added that all entry points into Plateau State by land and air would be subjected to preliminary tests.

The governor also warned that anyone found violating these orders should be arrested as security agencies have been directed to begin enforcement of the orders.

“Should the situation continue this way, we shall not hesitate to impose a complete lockdown in order to save the lives of our people,” he said.

COVID-19: Adamawa CAN Shuts Down Church Services, Weddings, Vigils, Others

Photo: NCDC


The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria,(CAN) Adamawa state chapter,  Dami Mamza, has ordered churches to shutdown services that may attract crowd as a necessary measure to forestall the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus in Adamawa state.

Wedding ceremonies, vigils, revivals and other church events were also banned in the Christian body.

The clergyman made this known at a media briefing at the CAN state headquarters in Yola the Adamawa state capital on Tuesday.

He called on the church to take the lead by working with the government in halting the spread of the virus across the state hence the need for worshippers to comply with government in restricting their practices to secure the health of their members and ensure public health safety.

The state Chairman lamented the  pace at which the coronavirus is spreading and calls for collaboration and unity of purpose in the struggles in curtailing the further spread and the far-reaching damages of the disease.

The clergy, therefore, appealed to Christians and all people of goodwill to duly observe the adjustments made regarding worship and other activities.

He also urged proprietors of all Christian Schools to comply with the government directives by closing all Christian schools on or before Friday 27th March 2020.

UEFA Admit Error Over ‘EURO 2020’ Name For 2021 Tournament

File: A board displays the groups and Spanish football player Iker Casillas (R) during the UEFA Euro 2020 football competition final draw in Bucharest on November 30, 2019. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP


UEFA were forced into an embarrassing about-turn Friday after they mistakenly tweeted that Euro 2020 would keep its original title despite being pushed back to 2021 as a result of the coronavirus.

“Although it will provisionally take place from 11 June – 11 July 2021, #EURO2020 will still be known as UEFA EURO 2020,” UEFA had confidently said on Twitter.

However, just hours later, they were less assured.

“With apologies for the earlier error, to be clear no decision has yet been made on the name of the rearranged EURO to be held in 2021. The earlier tweet was sent by mistake,” they tweeted.

EURO 2020 has been pushed back 12 months to June 11 to July 11 next year to clear the way for suspended domestic competitions to wrap up if conditions allow.

UEFA said the postponement “will help all domestic competitions, currently on hold due to the COVID-19 emergency, to be completed” as it made a “commitment” to finishing club seasons by June 30.

Twenty of the 24 nations set to take part in the Euro have already qualified, but play-offs to determine the final four participants, due to be played this month, have been postponed.

UEFA said those matches, and other scheduled friendlies, would be played in June subject to a review of the situation.